Political Theater Insults My Intelligence

In the race to the 2016 election for President of the United States, two major stories have been brewing as of late:

1- Conservatives disowned Donald Trump because of his most recent misogynist commentary.

2- Joe Biden is contemplating a presidential run, in no small part because his late son reportedly encouraged him to do so.  (How convenient that his son’s wishes became public!)

I would like to say categorically that both news stories are a load of BS.  Let’s review, shall we?

Mr. Trump is no newcomer to the world of misogyny.  The GOP knew about him before he was allowed on stage at last Thursday’s debate.    I could be kind of cynical and claim that they’re turning their backs on him now because it makes them look good in the face of Democratic assertions that they’re pursuing a “war on women.”

Stupid is as stupid does.  (Photo credit: Michael Vadon)

Stupid is as stupid does. (Photo credit: Michael Vadon)

Fortunately for you, I’m more cynical than that.  Right now, Hillary Clinton is widely assumed to be the eventual Democratic nominee.  And then there’s Mr. Trump who claimed at the first debate that his financial contributions to Mrs. Clinton have allowed him to call her when he likes and get whatever he wants from her.  If I’m the GOP, I want Trump around as long as possible but not as part of my organization.  It used to be the case that a third-party run by Trump would have cannibalized the campaign of any Republican candidate in 2016.  Now, however, keeping Trump relevant means the GOP nominee would have a very simple way of painting Mrs. Clinton as being under total sway of the wealthiest Americans.  Just play that debate video over and over as a political commercial and the Republican nominee most likely wins.

(Un)fortunately, Mr. Trump isn’t smart enough to realize that he undid his “leverage” over the GOP with that comment.  On the other hand, he might get his leverage back by eventually making comments about Hillary Clinton’s vagina.  Since Bill Clinton always seemed to be interested in every vagina other than his wife’s, comments by Trump might finally succeed in making her likeable.

Scary thought, huh?

Of course, Mrs. Clinton is not a sure thing to win the nomination.  DJ Gaffemaster Biden may defeat her.  Or maybe he won’t have to.

Let me ask you all a question: does anyone other than the Clintons seriously believe that the NSA has been keeping surveillance on all Americans EXCEPT Hillary Clinton?

Here’s a second question:  does anyone seriously believe that the Commander-in-Chief hasn’t contacted the NSA (part of the Department of Defense) to find out about all of the security issues that are presently being debated?

If Hillary Clinton did something that would make her unelectable, Obama and Biden are two of the only people who would know about it already.    The House investigation of Clinton is probably just political theater that’s trying to get information publicly that they already have.  And Biden’s preparations are probably a political necessity whether he likes it or not.   A credible candidate on the Democratic side (and Biden is credible in spite of everything) keeps the looniest of the loonies from winning a presidential election by default.  Sorry, Mr. Cruz.

Moral of the story: you don’t get the real story.  You only get the narrative that covers up whatever information cannot be released to the public at the present time.  Even if my speculations about Trump and Clinton are wrong, it’s still the case that all sorts of backstage shenanigans are more consequential than anything you “learn about” on the news.

Stop being a gullible sap.

Reading the Stories Insults My Intelligence

These days, I rarely write a new post on two consecutive days.  However, you may know of some critically important international crises that deserve immediate attention.  We must discuss them now and we must discuss them well.

Well…

Because the situation’s so urgent, we must visit the most respected informational source in existence: Playboy.

And guess who’s being featured in Playboy…

Confront your fear of Playboy.  I dare you.  (Image credit: Valstein0)

Confront your fear of Playboy. I dare you. (Image credit: Valstein0)

No, not Miley Cyrus.  Playboy is an intellectual publication and only produces material to engage the most significant of minds.  That said, you surely will not be surprised to discover Dick Cheney’s picture if you click on this link.

Actually, you’ll find three pictures of the former Vice President… and he consented to this.

Your dreams have finally come true.

Side note to readers:  As a man, I feel the natural obligation to explain how I ever-so-innocently happened upon the Playboy website.  I clicked on a headline and I didn’t realize that such a scandalous publication would be involved.  I cast thee to Hell, Playboy, and I hope my female admirers are satisfied with that gesture of solidarity with whatever it is I’m showing solidarity with.

I really did visit Playboy to read a story.

Soylent Hillary Insults My Intelligence

Hillary's golden years before her golden years.  (Photo credit: Henry Dunay)

Hillary’s golden years before her golden years. (Photo credit: Henry Dunay)

If Soylent Hillary
is made
out of people…

Will she degrade
and fade?

Donations,
Benghazi,
Email,
Controversies pervade.

Corpses.
(Her fault or not,
the dead feel betrayed.
They made her what she is.)

The consultants strayed
and made
The Soylent One.

Her new views are coming.
Her loyalists start drumming.
She drinks lemonade.

It’s bitter.

Once again
the Queen ascends
to nothing.

Made from people,
but not people herself.

Seemingly.

Cursed by her own deeds
to grow old
as Bill’s doting wife
with privacy
and inevitability.

Inevitability?
He’ll get laid.

How
does a former
inevitable
failed candidate
loser
defeated by her own faults,
unmade
by her own weaknesses
become inevitable again?

The addition of more
baggage?

Tirade?

No one deserves to win
except “me.”

Mitt Romney’s Detractors Insult My Intelligence

Mitt is back and he's ready to entertain.  (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Mitt is back and he’s ready to entertain. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

After not-so-nearly coming somewhat close to defeating Barack Obama in 2012, Mitt Romney is reportedly planning to run again. Critics claim that he has no chance of winning the nomination, much less ascending to the presidency, but I believe that he will ensure a Republican victory in 2016.

Let me explain.

During primary season, the other Republicans will spend a lot of time talking about how Mitt is yesterday’s news, how he seems to lack core political convictions, how he seems to be seeking the presidency out of ambition and not out of service, how he seems cold, how his underperformance the last time around reflects on his leadership abilities, how he’s cozy with Wall Street, and so on.

After getting all of this practice, the Republican who eventually defeats him will be well prepared to hurl the same factually accurate rhetoric at Hillary Clinton.

New Yorker Politics Insult My Intelligence

Throughout Germany, you’ll find a chain of clothing store called “New Yorker.”  It vaguely reminds me of Abercrombie without the sex and expensive merchandise.

On second, thought, maybe it’s not so similar to Abercrombie…

Doesn't that make you want to walk in and spend all your money?  (Photo credit: halleliebe)

Doesn’t that make you want to walk in and spend all your money? (Photo credit: halleliebe)

Once upon a time, someone over there concluded that “New Yorker” would work as a store name, at least from a marketing perspective.  We have brands with “New York” in the name here in the U.S. so it’s not unique to Germany.  However, New York seems to imply coolness over there when you’re talking about superficial things like clothes.

And New York is cool.  Unless you’re a Boston fan…

And then there are the images of New York that foreign countries see and they assume that all Americans live in New York… except for Barack Obama who obviously lives in Washington and a little girl named Dorothy who hails from the mythical land of Kansas.  New York isn’t particularly associated with anything cultural in this view, so you get a blending of stereotypes:

We all live in New York and wear cowboy hats and carry guns and lassos.  Okay, maybe we’re not portrayed with lassos.  The German media doesn’t inform its people THAT poorly.

So let’s have ourselves an information party.

Images emerge from individual parts of our very large country and they usually don’t represent much beyond a segment of that location’s population.  (Hint: most Texans don’t wear cowboy hats.  Most New Yorkers don’t work on Wall street.   Most Americans don’t eat at McDonald’s unless a need arises, or uprises in the case of obnoxious children.)

But I’m tired of griping about stereotypes.

Instead, I’d like to talk about one small-scale case that does reflect on the U.S. as a whole.  Recently in Virginia, one of our country’s most highly ranking congressmen was defeated in an election that was only open to a small geographic area; he even lost to an underfunded member of his own party.

Some call it a problem with the system.  I call it useful, even though I’m not fond of the political movement that ousted him.  Right now we have a large-ish and staunchly anti-government group called the Tea Party.  (To my non-U.S. readers: the Tea Party is not a political party.  They are among the most conservative people in the Republican Party and their name is a reference to the 1774 Boston Tea Party.)

I’m not going to debate whether the Tea Party has screwed things up on various issues because I prefer to remain nonpartisan around here.  However, its ability to influence events points to something positive.  In most countries, such a sizable anti-government movement could threaten political stability.  Instead, our dissenters run for Congress and they can win whether the national party likes it or not.

The reasonable expectation of being able to wield influence and enact change outweighs any disagreements one might have with one’s current political leaders. And, despite claims to the contrary, we are still free to openly disagree.

Blogger’s note: This post was inspired by KleesButterfly’s excellent take on how Germans are misrepresented. I decided to do an American version today because of the upcoming festivities.  (Plus, I usually do European travel photos on Fridays.)  To my U.S. readers: have a most excellent 4th of July.  Don’t forget that the day is about more than flags and fireworks.  Since it’s an election year, take the opportunity to refresh your memory on how the system works around here… and do it before you start guzzling all that beer.

 

Edward Snowden Insults My Intelligence

Russia seems to play a prominent role in current events these days.  We have their anti-gay policies, their annexation of Crimea and desire to take over all of the Ukraine, and their harboring of Edward Snowden.

Yes, this “hero” Snowden thought for some reason that certain other countries might be more admirable in their actions than the United States.  While I’ve expressed negative thoughts about the NSA actions he revealed, I don’t quite get why he didn’t contact someone on the Senate Intelligence Committee (for example) who, if I’m not mistaken, has a legitimate right to learn that information and the power to perhaps slow the abuses.

Have the abuses slowed?  I thought not.  And now he gets to see lots of worse stuff in Russia.

And so, inspired by Snowden’s naive belief that foreign countries act for the common good instead of in their own national interest, I would like to present a song.  You may recognize it as a parody of the Tears for Fears classic:

Welcome, Comrade Ed.
There’s no turning back.
Even while you sleep,
We will use you:
Acting on your information,
Glory be to Russian Nation!

Everybody wants to rule the world.

It’s our own design.
You’ll have your remorse.
You helped us decide,
Helped us take the most
of freedom and of treasure.
Ukraine could not last forever.

Everybody wants to rule the world.

There’s a room where the Feds won’t find you,
Full of mice ‘til the walls come crumbling down.
When they do, I won’t be behind you.

So glad we’ve almost made it.
So sad you can’t now trade it?
Everybody wants to rule the world.

I can’t stand your dear old country.
It is ruled by rabid monkey.
Everybody wants to rule the world.

Say that you’l never never never never mean it
when you say borscht is spleen! It
is not what we’ll use to rule the world.

The world’s freedom and its pleasure
Can no longer last forever.
With your help we will soon rule the world.

Vandalism Insults My Intelligence

Politicians have been desecrating public property for years and no one has stepped in to stop them.

You don’t believe me?

I walked out to my mailbox today.   Its sturdy black pole rises from the grass-covered dirt as its arched box reaches towards the street. With its single red ear, it reminds one of Vincent Van Gogh, though I doubt that he would have looked as spiffy wearing those metallic number stickers.

It waits to be fed.

(Photo credit for uncropped version: Joy Schoenberger)

Give me a break.  An anonymous blogger isn’t going to use his real mailbox.  Therefore, you get to see an icy receptacle and a wooden pole.  (Photo credit for uncropped version: Joy Schoenberger)

Even though my lovely specimen was purchased with private funds, the interior space has government (i.e. public) ownership.

And as I opened my own shiny piece of government property, I discovered vandalism.  I discovered grinning idiots on glossy brochures that try to scare voters into believing that other candidates would destroy the state, the country, and the sanctity of all “we” hold dear. Of course, there’s also the compulsory American flag waving proudly in all that hot air.

Those brochures had destroyed the monochromatic calm that had reigned inside my mailbox; neither they nor their distributors belong anywhere near public property.

Of course, the Capitol is public property too…